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Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Experience Camps RISES to Top to Provide Support and Joy to Kids Who Have Lost a Parent

Non-Profit Finishes in Leading Position in Newman’s Own Foundation Crowdfunding Competition

Press Release – WESTPORT, CT, January 4, 2018Experience Camps is proud to announce its strong finish in the national Newman’s Own Foundation Holiday Crowdrise Challenge. With over 6,000 charities competing for the top prize, Experience Camps came in 4th place, raising over $450,000 throughout the 6-week competition, including $37,500 in prizes from Newman’s Own Foundation.

The challenge is a friendly fundraising campaign for eligible US-based 501(c)3 charities. Participating organizations competed for $500,000 in cash prizes. The competition ran from Tuesday, November 21st to Wednesday, January 3rd.

Westport residents and sisters, Heather Garson and Raleigh Leahy, were the top fundraising team for Experience Camps (raising over $70,000), propelled by their personal connection to the cause and recent invitations to join the Board of Directors and Advisory Board.

Experience Camps provide free, one-week camps for children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver. Along with swimming, arts and crafts, and team sports, the kids take part in bereavement activities including sharing circles where they are encouraged to talk about their grief.

“We are thrilled at all of the support in this fundraiser and greatly appreciate the enthusiasm and generosity of our donors,” said Sara Deren, Founder and Chief Experience Officer of Experience Camps. “The money we raised and won in this campaign allows us to reach more children who struggle each and every day with the traumatic loss of someone meaningful by sending them to camp and showing them that they are not alone.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 1.5 million children are living in a single-family household due to the death of one parent. Grieving children are at higher risk than their non-grieving peers for depression, anxiety, poor school attendance and higher dropout rates, isolation, behavioral problems, lowered academic achievement, drug and/or alcohol abuse, incarceration or suicide.


Experience Camps help grieving children feel “normal” and supported through friendship, teamwork, camp activities, and the common bond of loss. It is a safe environment where kids can explore their grief, break the isolation they may feel with their non‐camp peers, and have a whole lot of fun. They have the opportunity to meet and connect with kids who are going through similar challenges, while getting all of the benefits of the traditional summer camp experience. In 2018, Experience Camps will have more than 500 campers at camps in Maine, California, Georgia, and New York. For more information about Experience Camps, visit Follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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